By Andrew Mitchell
After seeing the opening super G races of the 2007 FIS Alpine World Championships at Are, Sweden bumped back on two consecutive days due to wind and fog, athletes at last headed up to the start gates on Tuesday with a thumbs-up from FIS officials.
For the Canadian team, which has focused on mental training this year for just these kinds of delays, it was as good a day as it gets.
In the women’s race that morning, Whistler’s Britt Janyk placed fourth, missing the podium by just 0.06 seconds — the third time in a row she has placed fourth in super G.
While frustrated she couldn’t parlay her run into a podium, Janyk did look on the bright side.
“I’m being consistent,” she said. “It’s so nerve-wracking to stand there in contention for a podium. I had my brother there and he was squeezing me as we were watching the last racers come down. It was so close.
“Being in fourth, so close to the podium, means I’m skiing really well. It will come soon. It wasn’t today, but it will be another day — and that I know.”
After an average start, Janyk posted the fastest second intermediate section time of any skier. She was also clocked at 103 km/h at one point, which was the third-fastest time of the day.
Sweden’s Anja Paerson, the reigning world champion, successfully defended her title on home soil, while Lindsey Kildow of the U.S. picked up the silver and Renate Goetschl of Austria won bronze.
Fernie’s Emily Brydon placed 13 th , while Quebec’s Genevieve Simard was 20 th . Kelly VanderBeek of Ontario missed a gate.
That afternoon, the men’s race was incredibly tight. Mont Tremblant’s Erik Guay finished sixth place, just 0.03 seconds back of the bronze medal, while teammates Jan Hudec and Francois Bourque were just 0.04 and 0.05 back of third place, finishing seventh and ninth respectively.
“Three hundredths of a second — I can think of at least 20 times on the course where I could of grabbed that time. But that’s skiing right there,” said Guay. “You’ve got to get those hundredths to be on the podium. We have three guys in the top-10.
“Meanwhile, it will definitely motivate us for the downhill… Saturday.”
John Kucera, who is ranked second in the World Cup super G standings, placed a disappointing 30 th .
Patrick Staudacher of Italy took the win, followed by Fritz Strobl of Austria and Bruno Kernen of Switzerland.
Alpine Canada’s goal coming into this season was 12 World Cup medals and two medals at the World Championships. So far the team’s World Cup aspirations are on track with seven medals, while the Canadian Alpine Ski Team qualified a record 19 athletes for the World Championships.